It also seemed so simplistic.
Seasons occur because Persephone ate 6 pomegranate seeds at Hades’s table?
Snow falls because Mother Holle thoroughly shakes out her feather pillows?
Such beliefs would also discourage the kind of scientific research that eventually led to handy inventions like weather balloons and the like.
Then when I learned of Christianity’s Trinity, it got even more puzzling. Heck, they read our Bible and memorize the 10 Commandments (including the prohibition against making images to worship, which if they believe their founder to be God chas v’shalom, you’d think that all that crucifixion jewelry and those statues and paintings might be a problem, theologically speaking).
Furthermore, they've also read last week’s Parshat Re’eh with pointed verses such as Devarim/Deuteronomy 13:1-4:
All this word which I command you, that shall ye observe to do; thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.
If there arise in the midst of thee a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams--and he give thee a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spoke unto thee--saying: 'Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them'; thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or unto that dreamer of dreams; for the LORD your God putteth you to proof, to know whether ye do love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
So they read the Torah, and yet...
Even more intriguingly, Christians become deeply and sincerely offended at the mere hint that their belief system is anything less than strictly monotheistic. They’ve got all sorts of twists and distortions to “prove” their monotheism and the “truth” of their belief system. “Oh, here’s what the Torah really meant,” claim these non-Hebrew-speaking people, many of whom have never even heard of Rashi.
And I couldn’t help noticing that Christians who’ve left that belief system to become full-fledged Jews or Noachides describe a terrible struggle to release themselves from their belief in Christianity’s founder. As bizarre as this struggle has always seemed to me (having been brought up Jewish), I certainly can’t deny the objective observation that it is a struggle and even a kind of trauma.
Why do people who value monotheism to the point that they’re willing to lie to themselves and spin passionate theories of how a trinity is monotheistic still hold so tightly to an undeniably polytheistic belief system?
What’s going on here?
Accepting Paradox: The Key to Spiritual Truth
Two opposing contradictory facts are both…true.
Technically, one should cancel out the other. But in a paradox, they don’t.
They’re both true.
Left-brained physicists like to ponder and explore abstract paradoxes. But in general, human beings find paradoxes repellent, especially spiritual ones. Spiritual paradoxes can be agonizingly painful.
For example, Judaism insists that God is Loving, Kind, All-Merciful and All-Compassionate. And He is all that! Yet there’s also the Shoah. There’s child abuse.
There are a lot of disturbing things that we consider hateful, cruel, merciless, and ruthless. Yet God is behind it all and He’s Fabulous and we are supposed to love Him and trust Him as a suckling infant trusts its mother.
So there are terrible things in a world run by a Wonderful God.
If you’ve suffered, then you might find this paradox overwhelming at times.
In fact, people who grew up with abusive fathers understandably find it very difficult to connect to Hashem later on. Obviously, they could not turn to their own cruel father in supplication after he meted out some punishment for punitive reasons of his own ego, and not remotely for the good of the child.
So the thought of turning to Hashem when life metes out its challenges becomes too much for them. They feel like it’s turning toward their abuser for mercy, l’havdil.
And I believe this is why Christians, when they talk about the sterner side of things (like judgement, rebuke, punishment, etc), they tend to refer to God.
But when they talk about love, compassion, mercy, and warm fuzzies, they tend to use their founder's name.
And I think this is why they have such a hard time tearing themselves away from that belief system: It means giving up that image of an all-loving, never-chastising, nurturing, gentle, never-angry parent......and having to deal with the Truth:
Your Strict Chastising Judge is also Your Nurturing Compassionate Father.
And this is a GOOD and happy thing.
Welcome to Judaism.